Raleigh is not really "the big city" that other cities are; Charlotte probably being the bigger city of North Carolina. I love Raleigh, however, because it *is* progressive and yet, it's still small enough that you could potentially know someone from the city.
Raleigh encompasses the "triangle" area, which is Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. That, of course, covers a lot of area that most people outside of North Carolina would never hear of: Cary, Garner, Carrboro, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina. The further out one goes, however, the less progressive. But those areas are not too far out there.
But I bring this up because of two things. One is the impending vote on May 8th on Amendment One, which is basically a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. I think many people have been led to believe that it's banning same-sex marriage but unfortunately, same-sex marriage has already been banned in North Carolina.
Instead, it's some warped way to hinder even domestic unions (between man and woman) by the state constitution. It's just wrong and another conservative, anti-christian way (through "christian" beliefs) to force a belief system onto people who may not believe the same way. Shame, shame, shame on you "christians" who pat yourself on the back for thinking you 'love thy neighbor'.
Here are some more issues this amendment will do to us if it is passed: http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2012/04/09/north-carolinas-amendment-one-10-facts-you-need-to-know/.
The other thing has to do with the recent movie Bully. Among the stories told was one that will be the black sheep story of the film. It's the story of a lesbian who came out in a small town. While most of America will sympathize with the other stories of bullying, few will find sympathy, IMO, with her story and probably will single her story out as something that doesn't belong in a film about bullying.
And yet, the entire town bullied her. She came out, the school, the town, turned her back on her. Her parents, coming to grips with their own thoughts, their own upbringing of what homosexuality is, took the high road and stood by their daughter. Inconceivable, I thought but WOW. There can be good people who can accept something that once was unacceptable. The parents offered to move their daughter to a bigger city, for PROGRESSIVE change. The daughter, despite the bullying and abuse and SUICIDE THOUGHTS, decided to stay, in hopes of changing the minds of the town folk, maybe as she had done with her own family.
Even I sat there thinking how naive. How stupid.
And I was, unfortunately, right. Her first day back to school, the teacher and the students all turned their back on her and it was then that she knew, it would be generations of people after her that would have to change the minds of the people in this town.
It made me reflect, yet again, how lucky I am to be where I'm at, to be married to whom I am married to, to be surrounded by the friends I am surrounded by, to work where I work.
My company has allowed domestic partnerships since before I started. This means that they insured domestic partners, whether homosexual or heterosexual, before it was ever acknowledged in the media, all on their own accord. This was one of many things that attracted me to the company, and still does to this day.
There is no outwardly bias. Many of my fellow co-workers are outwardly "out" and share this on Facebook, their company proudly shown on Facebook as well as their domestic partner. And it's OK.
My friends share my passion for freedom of choice. In fact, one of my friend's daughter recently came out as a lesbian...in middle school. She was open enough to come out to her mom, then to the rest of her family. And came out in school, with no ill effects by the school system. It's not to say that there may be some teasing, bullying even, from some school kids, but there are other gay teens open at school. It's more tolerable than other small towns, as depicted in Bully, or as we see in other small town america news stories.
The teens from the Teen Writing Club I used to go to are all progressive thinkers. One also came out as lesbian but all are mainly agnostic or atheist and all supportive of HUMAN rights, which include gay rights. I noticed last year where most of my teen friends, some of them from teen writing club, others being my friends' kids, wore purple for Raise Awareness for Anti-Gay Bullying Day.
CJ and MiMi, of course, reflect our own views. CJ told me that one of her friends came to school wearing a shirt that said "I may be straight but I'm not narrow". CJ asked me, several weeks ago, 'If God hated homosexuals, then why would he put them in this world?' For a teen who doesn't have a great view on religion already, the pro-amendment oners aren't selling themselves very well.
I got my bumper sticker since I can't find a yard sign anywhere. I threw in a few buttons for the girls because they are pretty impassioned about it but they can't vote. They immediately put one on their school backpacks.
So there is a great big difference in living in the city and living somewhere else. We are truly lucky. And as I've told my girls, what we have here is a small slice of what is very different in the rest of the state. Just because we pass by dozens of anti-amendment one signs doesn't mean it won't get voted down. North Carolina is still a conservative state. We are just one dot of blue in a primarily red state. Our only hope is that we DID get our electoral votes in for Obama.
But we are also one little piece of what the rest of the country is NOT. Sure, the bigger cities reflect progressive views but unfortunately, we have more backwoods people who refuse to move forward and prefer to believe that god is still some sort of hateful, biased prick that reflects their own beliefs vs. some peaceful, loving, buddha-like persona that other religions believe their all power being to be. That's what I prefer to believe (remember, I believe in something...it's the rest of the family that's either atheist or agnostic)...I just don't believe in the god that 'christians' believe in because they believe in something i refuse to believe exist. Anything that preaches against gays, other religions, or anything that has people believing that i have to pay money, or hate people in order to get to heaven, just doesn't exist in my book.
And that suits me just fine in my happy little Eden of Raleigh, NC where I can hang out with my fellow slithering snakes of progressive thinkers, who'll vote with me (some have already, you evil littler Judas's - whoever that is).